Beating the summer heat

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 17, 2007

Every year, as groups begin training for upcoming seasons in the heat of the summer, reports surface about players suffering from heat exhaustion and rarely of fatalities related to high temperatures.

This summer has left its mark on residents of the area as one of the hottest in recent memory, and this oppressive heat, with consecutive days in triple figures, increases the risks of heat related issues arising for players who are out working to get prepared.

Montgomery said anytime a team in this area is practicing in 95-degree temperatures the humidity normally will place the heat index above 100. He said the normal humidity percentage for this time of year floats between 95 and 98 degrees, but this year it has remained in the 70s, keeping the already high heat from becoming unbearable.

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Montgomery said there are several signs a coach, parent or player can look for that indicate a person might be getting overheated. The first stage of exhaustion usually comes with symptoms of nausea, disorientation, thirst and a dry mouth, and players acting lethargic and having trouble paying attention.

Montgomery said if the cramps still persist after getting to a cooler area a person needs to seek medical help and get intravenous fluids. He said at that point the heat becomes serious, but noted that there are several ways to avoid getting heat exhaustion that can be taken by coaches and players.

He said having water readily available to players during practice can also help cut down the affects of heat. He said water is needed when ever thirst is present and can be supplemented with electrolyte drinks, like Gatorade and Power Aid, though they need to be diluted so the sugar doesn&8217;t slow absorption into the system.

Montgomery also said the university uses weight charts, which track player weights before and after practices, to prevent over heating. He said they allow coaches to know how much liquid a player losses during practice, as well as what they gain back during periods between practices.

For players, Montgomery said eating high carbohydrate diets during hot times of the year helps replenish energy. He said even if a player losses appetite, normal after hot periods of work, they must still rebuild their energy stores.

Montgomery, said while a player is eating, adding a little salt content will also pay dividends during hot practices. He said they help replenish electrolytes, which are crucial for coordination and muscle contraction.